Friday, February 14, 2014

UK Conservatives point to the failure of outcomes-based education in Australia | Australian Conservative

UK Conservatives point to the failure of outcomes-based education in Australia | Australian Conservative

The UK Conservatives are picking up on the failures of politically
correct outcomes-based education in Australia that have been well
documented by Dr Kevin Donnelly, director of the Education Standards Institute.

Nick Gibb, the Shadow Minister for Schools in the UK, in a recent parliamentary committee hearing, referred to the criticisms of OBE that Dr Donnelly detailed in his 2007 book Dumbing Down.

“After implementing OBE in Australia, authorities
realised it had failed and the term OBE has disappeared from the
education lexicon,” Dr Donnelly said.

That approach to education originates in the 1920s at Teachers
college, Columbia, New York. Wherever and whenever it is tried, it
fails. It particularly fails those children who have no access to
education elsewhere, other than school—they have no access at home or
through a personal tutor. Kevin Donnelly says in his book, “Dumbing

“Australia’s adoption of OBE is the reason why our education system
is consistently at the centre of controversy. Since the development of
the Keating Government’s national statements and profiles in the early
to mid-1990s, all states and territories have adopted OBE to various
degrees. Internationally, only a handful of countries have attempted to
implement OBE and those educational systems that outperform Australia in
the TIMMS tests ignore OBE in favour of a more academic and
teacher-friendly syllabus.”

On the issue of maths, the debate is best summarised by the US mathematician David Ross, quoted in Kevin Donnelly’s book:

“The reformers think that students should struggle with mathematical
problems on their own and that, from these struggles, methods of solving
the problems will emerge. Having devised these methods themselves,
students will understand the abstract conceptual structure of the
methods. Their opponents think that unless students are taught the
traditional algorithms, they will not be able to do math.”

Donnelly goes on to quote from Rhonda Farkota who argues that
successfully mastering higher-order skills first requires being taught
the basics in a structured, systematic way:

“It is generally accepted that a student-directed approach is more
suitable when it comes to the employment and cultivation of higher order
skills where reasoning and reflection are required. However, for the
acquisition of basic mathematical skills, the research clearly shows
that teacher-directed learning is better suited. Needless to say, these
basic skills must be firmly in place before students can approach
problem-solving questions with any degree of competence.”
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